Clash Of The Titans: No. 2/2 Stanford Hosts No. 3/3 Tennessee Saturday Morning
Dec. 18, 2009
No. 2/2 Stanford Cardinal (8-0)
- vs. -
No. 3/3 Tennessee Lady Volunteers (9-0)
STANFORD, Calif. - Off to its best start since 2004-05, the No. 2/2 Stanford women's basketball team puts its perfect 8-0 record on the line at Maples Pavilion this Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. in its annual meeting with the No. 3/3 Tennessee Lady Volunteers. This contest will be the second of three consecutive meetings with Top-10 teams for the Cardinal, and will be televised on Fox Sports Net and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, with Jim Watson calling the action and Mary Murphy and Lisa Leslie providing analysis. The contest can also be heard live on 90.1 KZSU, with Teddy Steinkellner on the call.
Last Time Out
The Cardinal ran its record to 8-0 to begin the 2009-10 season, matching its best start since 2004-05, with a bruising 71-55 victory over No. 7/8 Duke Tuesday at Maples Pavilion. Stanford's Big Three of center Jayne Appel and forwards Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen combined to shoot 59.3 percent (16-for-27) and score 50 points and grab 26 rebounds. Pedersen led the group with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Appel posted her fourth double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Ogwumike went for 18 points and eight rebounds. Guard JJ Hones scored 12 points and dished out six assists, while on defense the Cardinal held Duke to just 28.4 percent shooting from the field.
Tennessee (9-0) visits to Maples Pavilion Saturday morning ranked third in both national polls. Head coach Pat Summitt, in her 36th year at the Tennessee helm, has the Lady Vols back in the top five thanks to a perfect 9-0 start to the 2009-10 campaign. The Lady Vols, which most recently defeated Louisville 86-56 Wednesday in Knoxville, are led by the play of guards Shekinna Strickland (16.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 4.22 apg) and Angie Bjorklund (14.4 ppg, 43.8% 3-pt. shooting), and forward Glory Johnson (13.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg).
All-Time Against Tennessee
Tennessee leads the all-time series against Stanford by a 21-5 margin, and has captured 13 of the last 14 meetings. Stanford's only victory in that span was a 73-69 overtime decision over the Lady Vols in the most recent contest between the two schools at Maples Pavilion, on Dec. 22, 2007.
A Look At The National Rankings
Following a 7-0 start to the 2009-10 season, Stanford remained in the No. 2 spot in Dec. 14's Associated Press Poll with the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll coming out Dec. 15.
National Stat Rankings
Through Dec. 13, Stanford is ranked in the top five nationally in the following statistical categories: rebound margin (+16.6 - second), scoring margin (+29.7 - second), fouls per game (12.7 - second), scoring (86.6 - fourth), field-goal percentage (48.9 - fifth) and assists (19.71 apg - fifth). Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike is fifth with a 63.9 shooting percentage.
Pac-10 Stat Rankings
Through Dec. 16, Stanford leads the conference in eight statistical categories: scoring margin (+28.0), field-goal percentage (48.7), free-throw percentage (74.0), rebounding (46.4 rpg), rebounding margin (+13.9), assists (19.13 apg), assist-to-turnover margin (1.21) and offensive rebounding percentage (49.0).
Individually, Nnemkadi Ogwumike leads the Pac-10 with 19.9 points per game and Kayla Pedersen is second with 19.5. Jayne Appel is fourth in the Pac-10 with 9.3 rebounds per game, while Ogwumike is fifth with 8.6 and Pedersen is sixth with 8.5. Pedersen is also third in the Pac-10 with a 45.5 percent three-point shooting mark. Ogwumike is second in the Pac-10 with a 65.9 shooting mark from the field and Appel is third at 57.5 percent. Jeanette Pohlen is second in the conference with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.94, third with 4.38 assists per game and fifth with a 42.5-percent three-point shooting mark. JJ Hones leads the conference with a 2.21 assist-to-turnover figure.
Two Lifetimes Worth Of Wins On One Court
Saturday's clash between Stanford and Tennessee features two legendary figures in the coaching ranks in Stanford's Tara VanDerveeer and Tennessee's Pat Summitt. Between them, the two coaches possess 10 national championships and a mind-boggling 1,779 victories. Summitt last season became the first coach to reach the 1,000-win mark while VanDerveer is fifth all-time amongst all Division I coaches with 765 career victories entering Saturday's contest.
Don't Let History Repeat Itself
Stanford enters Saturday's game against Tennessee on a 34-game home winning streak, tied for the third-longest run in school history. An eerie similarity exists between the two 34-game streaks, as this Saturday, the Cardinal puts the streak on the line against the Lady Vols, just as it did on Dec. 3, 1993, when top-ranked Tennessee closed the book on that 34-game run with an 81-75 victory.
Don't Let History Repeat Itself...Part II
The 8-0 start by Stanford this season is the team's longest season-opening winning streak since 2004-05. In yet another eerie connection between Stanford streaks and Tennessee, the Cardinal's 8-0 start five years ago was brought to a halt by the Lady Vols on Dec. 21, 2004 with a 70-67 victory in Knoxville. Prior to the 2004-05 season, the last time Stanford started a season with eight straight wins was in 2001-02, and that 8-0 run was ended by then-No. 2/2 Tennessee on Dec. 16, 2001 as the Lady Vols captured a 68-62 win at Maples Pavilion.
However, when Stanford started the 1996-97 season 8-0 (the most recent occasion prior to 2001-02), it defeated then-No. 5/5 Tennessee 82-65 in Knoxville to extend its season-opening run to nine games. That season also marks the last time that Stanford won its first nine games of a campaign.
Assists That Don't Show Up In The Box Score
Senior center Jayne Appel, Stanford's 2009 State Farm Coaches' All-American, has had the bulk of her contribution to the team's success early on this season go unrecognized in the box scores. Although she leads the team with 9.3 rebounds per game, is second with a 58.3 percent shooting mark and third with 13.5 points per game, Appel's most telling effect on games has been the glut of attention that she demands from defenses. While she constantly battles double and triple teams on offense, Appel has not only still managed to post four double-doubles, but just as importantly pulls defenders away from fellow posts Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen, who are thus far enjoying career years with 19.9 and 19.5 points per game. Ogwumike, often facing a single defender, is shooting 65.9 percent from the field, while Pedersen is shooting a career-best 45.5 percent behind the arc and has drained a team-leading 20 three-pointers.
Stanford's Jeanette Pohlen has steadily provided the spark behind the high-octane Cardinal despite the loftier numbers of her frontline counterparts. Filling both of Stanford's guard positions, Pohlen has been a consistent force in scoring (12.3 ppg), rebounding (4.4 rpg), running the offense (4.38 apg and 1.94 assist-to-turnover ratio), defense (team-high 15 steals) as well as shooting the ball (48.5 % FG, 42.9% 3-pt. FG, 100.0% FT).
Running Neck And Neck
One friendly competition that Stanford fans have enjoyed over the first two months of the season is the scoring race between forwards Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen. Through the season's first eight games, Ogwumike holds the slimmest of leads with 159 points (19.9 ppg) while Pedersen sits at 156 (19.5 ppg). Each player has scored in double figures in every game this season, as well as having scored at least 20 points in four games, with Pedersen currently holding the team-high for the year with a career-best 30 points against Gonzaga on Nov. 29. In that same game, Ogwumike went for a career-high 29 points, demonstrating just how dominant both players have become this season.
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